Nearly every night Paula Wineti and Dawn Lee hear cars tooting or tyres screeching as people navigate the intersection closest to their homes. Lee has a first aid kit on hand in case of emergencies. They estimate there are three or four near-misses at the Pukuatua St and Amohau St, Rotorua intersection every week. The latest, on Tuesday night, left four people injured, two critically. Now residents are planning to do something about it. They talk to reporter Zizi Sparks about what they'd like to see done.
A two-car crash which critically injured two people has prompted nearby residents to start a petition for improvements to the intersection they believe is the "most dangerous in Rotorua".
At 5.55pm on Tuesday emergency services were called to the crash on Pukuatua St outside Trade Central.
Four ambulances were sent to the crash and two people in critical condition , one person in moderate condition and one person in minor condition were taken to Rotorua Hospital.
Yesterday morning a 30-year-old man was still in a critical condition in intensive care, a 40-year-old man was in a stable condition in a hospital ward and a 40-year-old woman and a man in his late teens were both in a stable condition.
Residents Paula Wineti and Dawn Lee say they hear cars tooting and tyres screeching every night at the Pukuatua St intersection and the latest crash has prompted them to start a petition, along with other residents in the units.
"They need to do something with that intersection," Lee said.
"If not lights or a roundabout, then a stop sign."
Lee estimated there were three or four near misses at the intersection every week.
"You hear the screech and sit here and wait for the bang."
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She said many of the residents in the units avoided the intersection if they could.
Lee has a first aid kit in her car, cupboard and a larger one in the lounge in case of crashes. She's only used it once helping an elderly woman who'd been in a crash while they waited for emergency services to arrive.
She believes the intersection is the worst in town.
"We've got bad ones but that would definitely be the most dangerous intersection in Rotorua. You really have to be on your guard."
Wineti agreed the intersection needed something to slow people down.
"You can hear brakes screeching late in the morning, early at night.
"It's a dangerous intersection and if you stand there long enough you can see why.
"It's an accident waiting to happen every night."
Wineti said she was also concerned because she saw students from nearby schools running across the road most mornings.
"I've got little kids growing up and I want safety for them."
New Zealand Transport Agency figures show there have been 18 crashes in the past five years at the intersection. Fourteen were non-injury crashes, three minor injury crashes and one serious injury crash.
Bay of Plenty systems manager Rob Campbell said NZTA was finalising the detailed design for its SH30A Central Corridor project which included proposed changes to address safety concerns at the intersection.
The changes would remove the option to turn right into and out of the intersection.
"There will also be additional traffic calming work to help slow traffic using the intersection, and a new signalised pedestrian crossing outside Rotorua Boys' High School."
Campbell said funding requirements and timing would be known after the detailed design phase.
The Pukuatua St crash was one of three in 24 hours which left eight people injured, three critically.
At 2pm on Tuesday, emergency services were called to a crash on State Highway 36, near Waiteti Rd. Three people were taken to hospital with moderate injuries following the three-vehicle crash in Ngongotahā.
Then yesterday morning at 9.54am, one person was seriously injured in a two-car crash at the intersection of Iles and Selwyn Rds.
The crashes have prompted a police warning around road safety in winter.
Rotorua area prevention manager Inspector Brendan Keenan urged people to drive to the conditions, increasing following distances if required.
"The one [on Tuesday night] and the one [yesterday] are more a result of speed but that's the message we're sending out ... We're telling drivers to watch their distance and avoid distractions.
"The message is drive carefully."
Keenan said each of the crashes had separate factors and different circumstances but coming into winter, as roads got icy, people needed to drive safely.
"Take that extra precaution. Also, people make mistakes so be a defensive driver. Everyone makes mistakes."
Keenan said people should remember RIDS which stands for restraint, impairment, distraction and speed. Wear a seatbelt, drive without being impaired or distracted and keep to the speed limit.
"We rarely get a serious crash or fatality that doesn't involve negligence of one or more often a combination of those factors."